miR-224 Is Significantly Upregulated and Targets Caspase-3 and Caspase-7 During Colorectal Carcinogenesis

Transl Oncol. 2019 Feb;12(2):282-291. doi: 10.1016/j.tranon.2018.10.013. Epub 2018 Nov 16.


miR-224 has recently emerged as a driver oncomiR in sporadic colorectal carcinogenesis, but its pathogenetic role is still controversial. A large phenotypical and molecularly characterized series of preinvasive and invasive colorectal lesions was investigated for miR-224 expression by qRT-PCR and in situ hybridization. The caspase-3 and caspase-7 status was also assessed and correlated to miR-224 dysregulation. miR-224 was significantly upregulated during the adenoma-carcinoma sequence and in the context of inflammatory bowel disease dysplastic lesions, whereas its expression was significantly downregulated among BRAF-mutated tumors and in the presence of a DNA mismatch repair deficiency. miR-224 targets caspase-3 and caspase-7 in colorectal cancer, and this inverse relation was already evident from the earliest phases of transformation in intestinal mucosa. The miR-224/caspases axis may represent an interesting field of study for innovative biomarkers/therapeutics for BRAF-mutated/DNA mismatch repair-deficient tumors.